Starbucks: Bellflower Blvd : Long Beach
Eric and I were planning on meeting at a Starbucks in downtown Long Beach again today. But our plans got derailed once I got a flat tire and had to get it fixed first. Instead we ended up meeting somewhere near where I was, so we didn’t delay our minute:72 photo session any longer. Starbucks on Bellflower Blvd it was. Not our first choice, as it is located in a parking lot of a KMart across from a residential area. But we knew we had to work with what we had and make something work – perhaps there was some reason that we were being pulled from our original plans.
We grabbed a coffee and the top paper on the rack, the Los Angeles Times.
Page 7 – 2nd word: once.
On one occasion only. Or something that occurred in the past. Once. It seemed pretty clear to us that we had to capture something that used to be. Perhaps something that had at one time been the best, but now is no longer. Or something that can only be used on one occasion.
Off we went in search of our subject. At first it didn’t seem like we would find anything – all that was around us were cars in a parking lot and houses across the street. But we knew that if we didn’t cover some ground, we wouldn’t find much more.
We shot leaves that had once been alive, now on the ground without any green. We also found cars that were left sitting on the side of a house, not of much use any more. Then there was some litter, including a flattened beer can – used once, then discarded.
These things were fine and all, however we wanted something unusual. Then with about 10 minutes left in our 72 minutes, we passed a most peculiar house unlike any other in the neighborhood. It was intentionally clad in weathered wood. On its porch were broken birdhouses and other odd pieces of wood. But leaning against a large tree was a broken wagon wheel. It definitely said “once” to us. Almost even like the “once upon a time” kind of once, telling a story about the old wild west:
Starbucks: Pine Ave : Long Beach
Today we decided to take minute:72 downtown Long Beach. We just felt that there’s more happening downtown and that we would be able to capture more life and action. After finding parking on the street we walked to the Starbucks on Pine Ave, grabbed some coffee and our inspiration word.
Our inspiration today: capture an image that represents: targets.
We were excited to receive a word like “targets”. It’s pretty specific as to what it means, which will give us something to aim for. Targets refers to something that’s the subject of an attack, or a mark at which someone fires or aims. Typically concentric circles or crosshairs are used when marking something that is targeted.
It looks like anything we aim the camera at will be a target, but we hoped to find something that either looked like a target or something that was targeting something else in some way. We had our work cut out for us, be we figured if we looked around enough, we’d be able to find something that represented the word “targets” well.
We left the Starbucks and started down Pine Ave. We were immediately met by the loud noise of construction from across the street. We saw workers jackhammering some concrete and decided to see if they’d let us shoot them using the concrete for their target practice.
The closer we got, the noise became more deafening and we could see pieces of concrete flying everywhere. Once we got closer, the workers stopped and looked nervous not knowing why we wanted to photograph them. We explained that were were just artists who wanted to get some photos of them jackhammering. They welcomed us to get close. Once we got closer, we noticed that the pattern on the ground contained circles and lines forming corsshairs – perfect for our inspiration. Eric used a wide angle lens and got in real close, capturing all the dust and action of the jackhammer targeting the concrete in a relentless attack.
We kept shooting and found many other ideas and objects to shoot – from birds to cars and buildings to people. But none was more fitting than the jackhammer.
We ended the shoot with a Periscope broadcast wrapping up our shoot.
Starbucks: Bolsa & Edwards : Huntington Beach
We met at a Starbucks that we had never met at before, right off the freeway in Huntington Beach. We grabbed a coffee and grabbed the word for our inspiration: the.
That’s right, our word was “the”. We knew that a simple word like “the” would be bound to happen at some point. But, such a simple word didn’t turn out to be so simple. We started our timer and discussed our word. Eric immediately said, “I don’t even know what the word “the” means. It’s like trying to describe what milk tastes like. You can’t do it.” And you know, he was right – I found myself also stumped as to how to describe it. So we looked it up and found that it’s a definite article used before a noun to specify a particular thing. Not just any noun though, but something specific.
We thought that we could shoot anything and call it “the” shot of the day. Our first idea was to shoot something that is definite – something there’s only one of. The sun came to mind, so we shot it. But we wanted more. We started shooting everything around us. We even turned to Periscope for the first time to broadcast our shoot looking for help from viewers. We were hoping that we might find something in a photo we didn’t initially see.
After the shoot and in editing the photos, both Eric and I had a hard time deciding on one photo that symbolized the word “the”. So we sat on it and looked deeper into what each photo represented to see if we could draw out more meaning. We looked for photos that seemed to hold the letters T-H-E or any other meaning that tied it closer to the word “the”. There was one photo that kept coming back up in conversation:
The cup. It wasn’t any ordinary cup, but one that was cast aside as a piece of trash in the middle of the sidewalk – crushed, yet still standing. It was upside down and didn’t hold anything except for light which made it stand proudly in the shadows, giving it a life that one would not expect. The photo is about more than just a cup. It’s about the persistence and resilience of something that transforms it from the ordinary and into something unique and individual.